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Old July 20th, 2008, 12:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The evil 2 prong plug.

Now before you all shoot the poster I have converted my Silvertone 1472 to a 3 prong plug as I have my 5e3 build. I post this as a poster at the Gear Page said his amp tech of 40 plus years expirience would not convert the guys blond blond bandmaster to a 3 prong plug. Now my amp tech as many here know as I posted a reference to this before does not believe in changeing them over either. He said you plug in your amp and listen to it then reverse the plug and plug it in and listen to it again. which ever way is quieter is the proper way for that wireing of the place your in. He says a 3 prong plug will not save you if the wireing is wrong to begin with. Now this got me to thinking so why do amps have the bad rep and are such a concern over other two prong thigs we use every day with out a thought? Lamps come to mind as household appliances, electric tools, radios ect. I would bet more folks have been killed messing with toasters and lightbulbs than amps

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Old July 20th, 2008, 12:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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But you’re not constantly handling an electric toasters, and lamps like say your steel string Electric guitar it never leaves -your arms!!
Ever play your guitar barefooted on a cement floor with a two prong plug and lay a sweaty arm across your bridge? {BuZZZZZ!!} You become ground.
Consider the charge a Capacitors holds as well.
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Old July 20th, 2008, 01:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I dont know anyone who doesnt recommend installing a 3 prong plug.
With vintage amps (unless they are collection pieces) you need to change certain components anyway (filter caps etc) so if you want the amp to sound good you do have to change parts. Hang on to the old cord (and have the death cap removed.. save it too). If you want to sell you can allways put it back in. I had used a two prong plug for years on my tremolux (just changed it this spring but i never use the amp anymore). I never remember a difference in hum or tone depending on the polarity switch on the back.
I DO remember paying my bass player a beer every gig to touch my strings and mic at the same time.. if there was a shock I would flick the polarity switch.
I am NOT an expert...

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Old July 20th, 2008, 01:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramseybella View Post
But you’re not constantly handling an electric toasters, and lamps like say your steel string Electric guitar it never leaves -your arms!!
Ever play your guitar barefooted on a cement floor with a two prong plug and lay a sweaty arm across your bridge? {BuZZZZZ!!} You become ground.
Consider the charge a Capacitors holds as well.
I was going to include the socked feet on bare concrete thing too.. never got a shock but just a very uncomfortable feeling.. put your sneakers back on :)
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Old July 20th, 2008, 01:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I look at it more as a means of reducing the chances of you looking like a squirrel after french kissing a transformer. Any means you can find to keep from getting electrocuted, the better. As a footnote, the U.S. Navy never grounds any of the large electrical components on their ships, because the sailors are expendable and the boat ain't. Are you expendable?
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Old July 20th, 2008, 01:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I have never tried this.. but if you insist.
This is from Customizing your Electric Guitar by Adrian Legg.
Dont know what effect on tone it has.. dont think any.

wire a 220k resistor in parallel with a .001 capacitor (assuming microfarads.. I could be wrong tho). Lift the ground from the strings and put this in series with the bridge and the ground...

Make sense?
If not let me know.. I will be more clear.
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Old July 20th, 2008, 01:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I worked an entire career in electrical and electronics and have accrediation in each. I would absolutely never agree with anyone who refuses to install a hard wired ground to a guitar amp chassis.
If the power cable ground is properly installed, it will always be safe to touch the amp, guitar and strings. Period.
How can anyone, in this modern age, imagine a house or any other structure, wired with a "hot" ground?? If that were the case, sure you'd get a shock. I find it impossible to imagine receptacle wiring to be that screwed up. If in doubt, use a receptacle checker first. 2 wire power cords for guitar amps are archaic and dangerous. Do NOT bet your life on a 2 wire power cord.

BTW a 220k resistor in parallel with a .001 capacitor in the guitar is a "work around" and doesn't address the principle problem. I recommend leaving the instrument(s) as is and ensuring the amp is safe to touch.
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Old July 20th, 2008, 02:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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using a 2 wire plug only works if you can completly trust the insulation integrity,and gives no advantage over a properly grounded system.

Its stupid to take chances with your safety:If I were you I'd get a tech with a better grasp of electrical safety
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Old July 20th, 2008, 02:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Eric Johnson converts his amps (twins) to 2 prong if they're not already.
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Old July 20th, 2008, 02:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jh45gun View Post
Now this got me to thinking so why do amps have the bad rep and are such a concern over other two prong thigs we use every day with out a thought? Lamps come to mind as household appliances, electric tools, radios ect. I would bet more folks have been killed messing with toasters and lightbulbs than amps
In the U.S. lamps and other household appliances that have two prong plugs and are of modern design come with polarized plugs. One side will be larger than the other. This prevents you from plugging them in the wrong way.

Common sense tells us to install three prong plugs on amps. Anything that can prevent fatal shock is a good thing. Always check your outlet you plug into to assure that it is properly wired. A simple checker costs around $5.00 and can easily rattle around in the bottom of your amp.

30 years as a master electrician and 15 years as an electrical inspector I've seen alot of preventable accidents. If you choose not to fix the problem it is no longer an accident if and when someone gets shocked/electrocuted.
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Old July 20th, 2008, 02:22 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Need explanation please...

I totally agree that a 3 prong plug is a safety necessity.

Not knowing alot about electricity, I am still confused on how an electrical device could EVEN WORK properly when a 2 blade plug is turned "upside down"???? I mean...on a standard wall outlet, one blade is HOT...one blade is NEUTRAL, and the round prong is EARTH GROUND...right??? Flipping the plug upside down will feed the electrical device a nuetral signal when it is expecting a hot AC signal...right??? The device shouldn't even work at all if logic applies. What am I missing???

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Old July 20th, 2008, 02:53 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Eric Johnson converts his amps (twins) to 2 prong if they're not already.
No offense, but just because Eric Johnson does something is not a license for you to do it to. Eric Johnson has his own crew and probably a separate power supply set up which allows him to use a 2 prong cord from the amp but have a grounded power supply unit that keeps everything safe. Also, there is also the technical rider in his contracts which states power requirements and proper wiring.
I use to do monitor mixes for a cover band that played the Philly and Jersey shore circuit. The sound guy also had his own electrician who would tap into the power junction box at the venue and run the line through their own power supply to the stage to power lights and sound (off of separate circuits) so everything ran safe and efficient.
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Old July 20th, 2008, 03:15 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Emu, it's more about the path of the circuit then the polarity. On older equipment, polarity wasn't important or necessary. When electronics started showing up, polarity became an issue, due to transistors, diodes, all that solid state magic stuff. In older circuitry (two wire), the white, or common actually went to a building ground. When you reverse that, all your normally neutral lines become hot and potentially very dangerous. Equipment like amps and recievers, and stuff with different voltages internally use the same initial neutral in the circuit. Think of it as a line that you would clip onto if you were on scaffold to keep from falling off. If you put a potential (voltage) on that line, you get bit.
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Old July 20th, 2008, 03:17 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surfoverb View Post
Eric Johnson converts his amps (twins) to 2 prong if they're not already.
Eric Johnson is, well, crazy!

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Old July 20th, 2008, 03:20 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Eric Johnson is, well, crazy!
Amen brother!!
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Old July 20th, 2008, 03:25 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surfoverb View Post
Eric Johnson converts his amps (twins) to 2 prong if they're not already.

Would you happen to know why?
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Old July 20th, 2008, 03:26 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jhegel View Post
In the U.S. lamps and other household appliances that have two prong plugs and are of modern design come with polarized plugs. One side will be larger than the other. This prevents you from plugging them in the wrong way.

Common sense tells us to install three prong plugs on amps. Anything that can prevent fatal shock is a good thing. Always check your outlet you plug into to assure that it is properly wired. A simple checker costs around $5.00 and can easily rattle around in the bottom of your amp.

30 years as a master electrician and 15 years as an electrical inspector I've seen alot of preventable accidents. If you choose not to fix the problem it is no longer an accident if and when someone gets shocked/electrocuted.
Yea and there are still a lot of things out there that have 2 prong plugs that are not polarized too and they are modern stuff so not every one uses polarized plugs on their products.
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Old July 20th, 2008, 03:27 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Would you happen to know why?
Probably for the same reason that he labels all of his patch cables so they always go the same way, because he hears a difference (or at least THINKS he hears a difference). He's kinda legendary for his rather extreme fixation on the very tiniest possible variables....

Like I said, he's crazy!



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Old July 20th, 2008, 03:33 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Trust me I am not saying the 3 prong is wrong I have converted my own stuff all I am saying is that there are cases of two prong stuff being used out there besides amps everyday that then could have the same potential to kill ya like my lamps and toaster comparison and there are techs out there that do not like to use them 3 prong plugs on amps for what ever the reason. I know one and woozy at the gear page knows one I would suspect there are certainly more out there. These folks also have been in business for a long time and are not afraid of giving this advice or worried about law suits so who is right and who is wrong hard to say as this is one of those continual debate issues. Jim
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Old July 20th, 2008, 03:47 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Emu, it's more about the path of the circuit then the polarity. On older equipment, polarity wasn't important or necessary. When electronics started showing up, polarity became an issue, due to transistors, diodes, all that solid state magic stuff. In older circuitry (two wire), the white, or common actually went to a building ground. When you reverse that, all your normally neutral lines become hot and potentially very dangerous. Equipment like amps and recievers, and stuff with different voltages internally use the same initial neutral in the circuit. Think of it as a line that you would clip onto if you were on scaffold to keep from falling off. If you put a potential (voltage) on that line, you get bit.
Thanks voodoostation:

It's hard for a person not trained in electricity to understand alot of stuff electricians take for granted. If I understand you, the older devices...when plugged in upside down...actually had circuits that were "lifted" and could run in both directions...is that describing it right??? But I didn't think an electron tube could run backwards??? Wouldn't the tube just shut down???
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